Reasons Why Estate Planning Benefits All Ages and Generations

Estate planning isn’t just for older adults. Estate planning benefits people of all ages and income levels, even teenagers with limited assets. Below are some of the reasons why each generation benefits from estate planning.

Why would Generation Z need an estate plan?

Estate planning should be considered for anyone age 18 and older. That’s because as an adult, the 18-year-old has the legal right to make his or her own medical decisions (even if they differ from what’s recommended by his or her doctors or parents). And, the 18-year-old has a right to keep his or her own medical, financial, and educational information private, even from parents.

Many young people have assets, including money earned from a job or passed down from an inheritance. Even meaningful objects, such as a first car, may be considered assets worth passing to heirs.

By creating a simple will, often an inexpensive task, young people will have the opportunity to decide on beneficiaries for their accounts, items, and other assets.

A Power of Attorney is an option that some parents may wish to consider for their young adult child. This legal document allows the adult child to bestow upon a parent or another responsible individual the legal right to make healthcare decisions if he or she is unable to. This includes end-of-life wishes.

What Millennials need to know about estate planning

Millennials, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as an individual born between 1982 and 2000, may be purchasing their first home, getting married, and having children. Some twenty- and thirty-somethings may need a will, trust, and beneficiary designation.

For example, new Millennial parents may wish to create an estate plan that will provide for their children and other dependents (including pets) if they are physically unable to care for them or at death.

Millennials are likely to have a significant amount of digital assets, which should be addressed in estate planning as well. Digital assets may include documents stored in the cloud; contents of a hard drive; photographs uploaded to a website; text message conversations; movies, music, and ebooks; or online access to any designated aspect of a person’s digital life.

Gen-X and estate planning

Generation X is the demographic group born between 1965 and 1980. These individuals may be raising families while also caring for aging parents. Some may have been through a divorce and are in second marriages. Whatever the situation, Gen-Xers who have an estate plan will need to make sure their plan is updated to reflect changes in their lives.

Along with a will, digital assets, and Powers of Attorney, Gen-Xers may wish to create a trust, which is a legal document that allows an individual to be very specific regarding how, when, and to whom their assets are distributed.

A trust helps people maintain control of their assets, reduce estate taxes, plan for worst-case scenarios, provide care for children with special needs, and avoid the probate process, all while securing assets and property for beneficiaries.

Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, and the Silent Generation, people born between 1928 and 1945, should have estate plans in place that include – at the very least – a simple will and Powers of Attorney documents. Advanced medical directives, financial power of attorney, and many of the estate planning products listed above benefit this age group as well.

Individuals of all ages should review their documents regularly to reflect life changes. For example, Baby Boomers may be faced with the death of their spouses, or some may be considering passing their business onto younger relatives. An up-to-date estate plan ensures their wishes are carried out.

Help is available

The estate planning attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to help clients of all ages with estate planning. To speak with an attorney, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website at

Categories: Estate Planning